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Would you write if it meant you risked getting your fingers chopped off?

Mammy Prater, 115-year old ex-slave. Image originally from Library of Congress is no longer available from Amazon

Mammy Prater, 115-year old ex-slave. Image originally from Library of Congress is no longer available from Amazon

Imagine you want to write a letter to your husband.

There is no Facebook, Twitter, email. As a matter of fact, there is no internet.

It’s 1830, you are an African American slave and every aspect of your life is controlled by your master.

Even if you happen to know which plantation your husband has been taken to, you have several problems.

1. Not only is it against the law for slaves to read or write,
but it’s against the law for anyone to be caught teaching you to read or write.

This 1830 North Carolina statute was typical.

AN ACT TO PREVENT ALL PERSONS FROM TEACHING SLAVES TO READ OR WRITE, THE USE OF FIGURES EXCEPTED
Whereas the teaching of slaves to read and write, has a tendency to excite dis-satisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion, to the manifest injury of the citizens of this State:

Therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same
, That any free person, who shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any slave within the State to read or write, the use of figures excepted, or shall give or sell to such slave or slaves any books or pamphlets, shall be liable to indictment in any court of record in this State having jurisdiction thereof, and upon conviction, shall, at the discretion of the court, if a white man or woman, be fined not less than one hundred dollars, nor more than two hundred dollars, or imprisoned; and if a free person of color, shall be fined, imprisoned, or whipped, at the discretion of the court, not exceeding thirty nine lashes, nor less than twenty lashes.

II. Be it further enacted, That if any slave shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any other slave to read or write, the use of figures excepted, he or she may be carried before any justice of the peace, and on conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to receive thirty nine lashes on his or her bare back.

III. Be it further enacted, That the judges of the Superior Courts and the justices of the County Courts shall give this act in charge to the grand juries of their respective counties.

Source: “Act Passed by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina at the Session of 1830—1831” (Raleigh: 1831).

Retrieved from http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/slaveprohibit.html

 

2. Some slaveowners took the punishment a bit further and threatened to chop off the fingers of any slave caught writing.

See The Secret Writing of American Slaves

 

3. To learn to read you had to engage in covert activities.

Frederick Douglass sneaked pieces of bread to poor white children who would in exchange teach him to read.

 

4. Writing supplies were hard to come by.

One slave wrote letters to his mother on scraps of wallpaper he saved when he got a job hanging wallpaper. His mother had taught him to read before she was sold to another slaveowner.

 

5. If you succeeded in learning to read, find paper, get a writing tool, and write a letter, how did you get it safely delivered?

Enough of this.

It’s the  21st century and if you live in a democratic country, you don’t have any of these worries.

Your biggest roadblock is nothing so scary.

You have tremendous advantages

  • You know how to read.
  • You have access to writing tools.
  • You are free to openly write letters and more, even a book.
  • You have classes, coaches and mentors eager to help you write, even if your dream is as ambitious as writing a book.
  • You probably can write on any topic without fear of repercussions, especially without fear of losing any fingers.
  • You can get your book published affordably and distributed worldwide.
  • People will pay you for your book.

So, tell me in the Comments, what’s holding you back from writing your book?

If you are fresh out of excuses for writing your book, let me help you get started at Rockin’ My Book , an on-demand eCourse.

9 Steps to Writing and Publishing a Book

Aspiring authors have many fears, uncertainties, false notions, and misconceptions. Who can blame them?  Until recent years, the inner workings of the publishing industry were mysterious to us commoners. Whenever I speak at seminars or work with coaching clients, I am pressed with questions like

  • How do I get a book published?
  • Do you think I can write a book?
  • Do I need an agent?
  • Are there any secrets to getting published?

The beginning writer is haunted and paralyzed by fears and uncertainties.

Although successful writers are portrayed as loners clicking away on a keyboard or scrawling on a yellow pad, my best advice for today’s first time author is to build relationships. You will benefit from exchanging ideas and strategies with other writers online and offline. You will save time, money, and disappointments when you seek a mentor, attend workshops, invest in conferences, and engage the help of an accountability partner or  coach. You will learn how to organize your time, choose the best tools for your purpose, and discover the many publishing options available to you.

Nothing will spare you from rejections and the inevitable rewriting

Getting to know fellow authors will help you handle all parts of the publishing process.

The nine steps to writing and publishing a book above are simply stated, but cover the basics most authors follow, not necessarily in this order.  There is so much to learn about each step that books have been written about each of them.

There are no secrets, no need to be an outstanding writer, or have special DNA to publish. Authors read and write a lot, and if they want to be successful, build relationships.

If you’re ready to keep the promise you made to yourself about writing a book one day, today is a perfect day to start. My eCourse, Rockin’ My Book has helped give other authors the push they needed. Let it do the same for you.

Are there any steps I didn’t cover that you think are essential? Tell me in the Comments.

Download your free ebook, It’s Time to Write Your Book at http://coloryourlifepublished.com

 

How to Rock Your Book Copy

 

An expert, and no book?

A marketing expert stopped by my booth at the California Women’s Conference. I recognized her name and was quite proud to meet her in person. She introduced herself and told me about her unique approach to helping her clients get visibility and move into 7-figure incomes.

I was immediately intrigued and wanted to learn more about her background and approach. Perhaps I would even sign up for her program.

As is my usual practice, when I returned to my office I checked out her website.

Well done.

Next, I dashed over to Amazon to get her book, but I couldn’t find one.

That’s right.

No book.

Zip.

Nada.

A marketing expert without a book in her area of expertise?

That diminished her credibility in my mind.

Sure, her work and results could be as amazing as she
described without her having written a book.

=====================
Get stated on your book with the e-course,

Rockin’ My Book now.
=====================

With the changes in publishing it’s easier than ever
to create a full-length print book or an ebook. That’s why
it’s surprising to find a blogger, coach or entrepreneur who
has not made the time and commitment to write up her
approach, system, best tips, advice or success story.

If this sounds like you, be aware of another sobering fact:
meeting planners, bloggers and radio hosts are less likely
to invite you to interviews and speaking gigs if you don’t
have a published book.

There is good news.

Your book doesn’t have to be a full-length  print version to
earn respect. E-book authors are winning credibility
along with print authors even though ebooks are a lot shorter
and much quicker to create and publish.

Don’t let your credibility be diminished any longer because
you don’t have a book on the market. As a blogger, coach
or entrepreneur you already have content that you share
with your clients and subscribers. Turning what you know
into a print or ebook is the next logical step.

=====================
Get stated on your book with the e-course,
Rockin’ My Book now.
=====================

More good news.

You don’t have to choose between a print book and an ebook.
Most authors create both.

If you are ready to step up your positioning, credibility and
visibility, let me be your partner in your journey to publishing
your print book or ebook.

Best news of all.

Grab the 4-week e-course and work on it at
your own pace. Get stated on your book with the e-course,
Rockin’ My Book now available now.  In it we will tackle the toughest
part of writing your book: getting started, targeting your reader and
making a workable plan to complete and market your book.

Get stated on your book with the e-course,
Rockin’ My Book now.

I look forward to being your partner to publishing success.

Blessings,
Flora

P.S. If your inner critic is telling you that it’s too late to start or finish your book this year, send her to the corner without her dinner. She’s wrong. Join me in Rockin’ My Book and we’ll set her straight together.

It Takes a Village to Self-Publish a Book to Avoid Losing Your Shirt or Your Mind

If you want to self-publish a book without losing your shirt or your mind, you need help.

Self-publishing is not a solo act.

Yes, you may write your rough draft alone in your room or closet for months with only quick breaks to refuel your stomach and sleep.

But to publish a book that stands any chance of being read, much less being profitable, you need to gather others who can help you with the less-glamorous, but essential parts of getting your book to market.

It takes a village to publish a book to avoid losing your shirt or your mind. ←Click to tweet

Who must be in your village and what is the role of each?

1. You

You must be an eager participant not just in the writing, but in the marketing of your book.

There is no “set-it-and-forget-it” in book marketing.  ←Click to tweet

No publicist, agent or company will care about your book more than you do.  Think of yourself as the contractor and the other folks in your village as subcontractors. You will select them and oversee the work they do for you.

2. Publishing coach or accountability partner

A coach or accountability partner plays an important role. You know that you could get your book written without any prodding, but if you’re like most humans you accomplish more when you have someone nudging you along.

You could build muscles and lose weight on your own too. Chances are, however, that you won’t stick to any fitness plan if you don’t have someone tracking and encouraging you on.

A publishing coach serves an even more important function when you are self-publishing.  She will help you evaluate your options in selecting the other members of your village so you aren’t scammed into overpaying for services or being lured into worthless package deals from  unscrupulous companies.

3. Editor

Did you let out a loud sigh of relief when you finished your rough draft? Perhaps you thought the hard part was over. Depending on who to you talk to, that may be true.

But I pity the fool who publishes a book without having a professional editor go through it with a fine-tooth comb.

Without a skilled editor, your book will be screaming “amateur” and will become the victim of ruthless reviews on Amazon and other online retailers. Today’s readers are not very patient with books that are riddled with errors or sound like 5th grade compositions.

Once the editor returns your manuscript you still have work to do, refining and polishing.

James Michener was not kidding when he said,
“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

4. Proofreader

While the editor was digging into content, ensuring flow, structure and consistency of style, the proofreader is looking for mistakes in spelling and grammar that can mar, alter or skew your meaning.

Proofreaders know that they can’t count on spell checkers, so they use many other means.

5. Book cover designer

Since the cover is the first thing prospective buyers see, it plays an important role. The front cover captures attention, and if it garners enough curiosity the reader goes to the back cover where the details convince the reader to plunk down his credit card.

Even though ebooks typically show only a front cover, it is nonetheless important.

Consult your coach,  fellow authors and colleagues to help you find book cover designers who can work with you to create the cover that best represents your book.

6. Interior book/layout designer

Self-publishing a book can be easy, but self-publishing a “professional” book requires skill. Chances are you don’t have all the skills required. That’s why I urge you to gather the experts you need to have in your village.

Up until this stage you may have been working with your manuscript in Microsoft Word.  When getting it properly formatting, Microsoft Word is no longer your friend.

No matter how well polished your manuscript is, you can fall into a big pothole if it is not laid out properly.  While some of the Print on Demand companies may give you instructions on doing this yourself, it’s still possible to make amateur mistakes that will diminish all the work you’ve done up to this point

 7. Printer, Fulfillment and Distribution

Once your book has received the blessings of the first six folks in your village, you’re ready to share it with the world.

Your coach or anyone of the other experts can be helpful in selecting the company that will print your book. Print on demand companies often have an option for getting your book into the hands of buyers. While you may enjoy selling your book at book signings and book release parties, chances are you don’t want to tackle the task of shipping every copy purchased online from popular retailers.

8. Marketing department

Most self-published authors have little experience with marketing.

 

A word of caution:

Beware of companies selling packages that include all of these services in one. They are too often motivated more by profits than by helping you get a professional book.

For newcomers to publishing, gathering your village will seem like a daunting task. You can count on your coach and groups of self-publishers and independent publishers to steer you toward the ethical and affordable experts. Local, national, and online groups are dedicated to helping you succeed with your book writing, publishing and marketing goals. A few of them are

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If you’re ready to gather your village or learn more about starting your book, I’ll be happy to be your traveling companion. Here are your coaching options.

 

 

 

How to Get Your Book Published: A Video from Danny Iny

You’ve already heard many times that 4 out of 5 people want to write a book, but that sadly many of them won’t.

It has very little to do with talent, skills or even time. You’ve already discovered that you make time in your life for the things about which you are passionate.

So, what is the problem. Why are people still not getting their books written and published?

Fear, lack of confidence and uncertainty are the culprits.

One of the best ways to get around these problems in addition to developing a positive mindset, is to listen to and hang out with folks who have already published a book and are willing to share techniques and tips with you.

In addition to what I share on this site, I like to bring in other authors who will share with you.

Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing created over 41 videos to respond to questions from his readers. Here is one about publishing your book. Watch. Learn. Enjoy.